Botanic trees blown down 5 years ago put back to use

TREES blown down during a storm that struck the Botanics nearly five years ago have been brought back to life as furniture by leading craftsmen for a new exhibition.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 7:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 2:57 pm
Storm damage to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh after winds of 102 mph Picture; Helen Pugh

The uniquely designed furniture was hand crafted from trees destroyed when Cyclone Andrea struck on January 3, 2012, with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour.

The Botanics lost 34 trees and hundreds of plants in the storm, which also caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to buildings and glasshouses.

Nearly five years on, the dramatic event will be marked with a ground-breaking exhibition, After the Storm, which opens on Saturday and runs until May. Dubbed “a celebration of regeneration, recovery and resilience”, it will include 14 unique tables, chairs, desks, cabinets and other objects made from wood from the lost trees.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The furniture is pictured on the site where the tree it was made from used to stand in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The exhibition will also look at what has happened to the landscape hit by the cyclone and explore the importance of storms in rejuvenating landscapes.

Ian Edwards, head of exhibitions and events at RBGE, said: “After the Storm will consider the legacy of the dramatic ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event and its effect on the landscape.

“Dozens of trees were blown down in the Garden. It was a pretty devastated site, but there is a silver lining to every storm.

“Some of those trees were suitable for making in to furniture. Now we have given them a new lease of life.

The furniture is pictured on the site where the tree it was made from used to stand in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

“We’re trying to show the positive effects of storms in encouraging regeneration and building up resilience.”

Cyclone Andrea brought with it the strongest winds for a generation.

The storm left trees uprooted as well as damage to the Montane and Wet Tropics Glasshouses and the plants inside.

It took two years to hatch a plan to transform the logs in to furniture, however.

Craftsmen were selected with the support of the Scottish Furniture Makers’ Association (SFMA) and the Forestry Commission, which has an interest in promoting the sustainable utilisation of Scotland’s hardwood timber.

The furniture has been hand-crafted by designer-makers in workshops all over Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands, on the themes of rejuvenation and re-growth.

The exhibition of furniture, photographs and drawings will open in the John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, on December 3, and run until May 26.